Welsh bovine TB compensation reaches £74m over five years

Bovine TB compensation for Welsh farmers has jumped 15% in a year, according to new figures.

Compensation in 2018-19 for farmers hit by the disease was £18.24m, with £15.9m paid in 2017-18. Over the past five years, compensation to Welsh farmers totals just under £74m.

The figures came in response to a written assembly question submitted by Welsh Conservative Andrew RT Davies.

See also: Counting the cost of bovine TB in Wales

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) said the rise reflected the unsustainable increase in the number of valuable cattle slaughtered due to the disease.

It said in a statement: “The current level of compensation takes no account of the consequential losses caused by current regulations and these consequential losses can be significant.  

“We know that issues, including loss of stock; problems with cashflow, costs of housing and feeding additional stock; loss of business control; and uncertainty over the future inevitably affect the emotional wellbeing of farming families and have a long-term effect on the cattle sector in Wales.”

The FUW added that the past three decades of “ineffective policy” had restricted the ways in which farmers can manage the wildlife source of TB infection.

Mr Davies, the shadow rural affairs minister, said the figures were further evidence of the Welsh government’s failure to listen to the farming community and implement an effective strategy to eradicate bovine TB.

He added: “Compensation payouts are spiralling, and the costs of administering the wider scheme are also going upwards.

“As Welsh Conservatives, we have long called for a comprehensive, scientifically led programme of TB eradication, as it’s clearly not sustainable to preside over such an ever-increasing compensation bill.”

Farmers Weekly has contacted the Welsh government for a comment.